By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Elma, WA
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Elma, WA -- The remainder of the $50,000 Shipwreck Beads sponsored Northwest Modified Nationals were cancelled on Friday night when track promoter Fred Brownfield was struck and killed by a race car as the D Main was being lined up at Grays Harbor Raceway. Brownfield was filling the on track referee role as his normal person had a prior commitment for the Friday night date. The 53 year old Brownfield also headed both the new National Sprint Tour and the Pacific Northwest based Northern Sprint Tour. Both of those series have cancelled events after the death of Brownfield and GHS also cancelled the June 24th scheduled race date. A memorial service for Brownfield will be held at Grays Harbor Speedway on Monday June 26. As Brownfield was being transported to the hospital with his serious injuries, the track officials originally announced that the remainder of the Friday racing card would be completed just prior to Saturday’s $10,000 to win show but changed their minds overnight and the over 60 dirt modified teams started their long treks home.
The racing action that was completed before the tragic incident found Marysville CA hard charger Randy McDaniel setting a new track record for the 3/8 mile clay oval as he turned quick time for a second straight night in his Harris Chassis. Randy McDaniel’s time was a 16.254. Thursday night preliminary feature winner Jon DeBenedetti was also under the old mark with a 16.317 clocking. There were two separate rain delays as the 59 car field was taking their qualifying runs. Thursday night third place finisher Eddie Martin from Oklahoma turned a very quick lap right after one of the delays and the transponder connected scoreboard showed him at a record breaking 16.321 lap, but he was credited with a 17.043 lap that made him 28th quick despite the protests of his owner, D&M’s Chub Daniels. Cottage Grove Speedway star Jason Kocks was officially listed in the third slot at 16.382. Having fought engine woes all night long on Thursday, 17 year old Central California star Alex Stanford purchased one of the backup engines of friend Alan Sharpensteen for the Friday night racing. He ran a quick 16.445 lap, but forgot to report to the scales and was listed with no time. That moved Iowa’s Jay Noteboom into the official fourth slot at 16.449 in the Duane Cleveland backup Harris. Ocean Speedway point leader Brian Cass from Livermore CA turned an identical 16.449 lap. Former race winner Brian Poppa ran 16.501 and Randy McDaniel ranked 7th ahead of young Medford charger Chris Salyer, crowd favorite Leroy Lawhead and dirt late model star Rob Mayea. Thursday’s fifth place finisher Richard Papenhausen spun on his qualifying lap, leaving him a tough Friday night task. The Martin lap came before DeBenedetti’s run and Randy McDaniel was one of the final three cars to run in his record effort. The point standings after the Thursday night show had listed Kellen Chadwick as the point leader, just one point ahead of Martin and 2 ahead of $1000 winner DeBenedetti. Dustin Jenks was five points out of the lead and 28 in front of Randy McDaniel. The show was set to take the top 16 point earners from Thursday and Friday night into the 40 lap, $10,000 to win finale on Saturday night.
Time trials were followed by six straight up heat races and then another round of six heats that were completely inverted off the timed runs. Ryan McDaniel passed his father Randy McDaniel on lap 4 to win heat 1 with fourth starting Chadwick racing to third after being a disappointed 19th fast in time trials. Ryan McDaniel ran a 16.46 lap and Sharpensteen ran fourth. DeBenedetti clicked off a 16.33 as he won heat 2 from the pole in the Ron Martin owned Loose Gruf Chassis. Salyer was a race long second ahead of Ronnie Wilson with Stanford making an impressive charge from last starting to fourth. Kocks won heat 3 from the pole with a 16.60 lap. Fourth starting Gus Cooper, a former race winner, ran second and Scott Busby placed third ahead of Lawhead. Noteboom was impressive as he won heat 4 from the pole with a 16.76 lap. Teammate Cleveland started fourth and ran second with Mayea getting third ahead of 9th starting Papenhausen. Using an engine loaned to him by fellow Central California racer Mickey Hill, Cass won heat 5 from the pole with a 16.78 lap. Cottage Grove racer Braedon Hand spun out of 2nd on lap 2 and got hit by Martin to end the race for both. Petaluma CA race car builder Joe Carr ran second ahead of track regular Kris Asche and Medford’s Dave Duste Jr. Outside front row starter Dustin Jenks stayed perfect in his heat race efforts for the event with a win in heat 6 as he ran a quick 16.41 lap. Pole starter Poppa ran second ahead of Jesse Williamson and Oklahoma’s Bobby Smith Jr.
For some reason, the order of the heat races were dramatically changed for the second round with the fields now completely inverted from the qualifying times. The cars from heat four raced in heat 7 and Papenhausen dominated this race from his outside front row start. He ran a 16.78 lap as he won ahead of the potent team of Cleveland and Noteboom who had come through the pack. Mayea ran fourth. Medford veteran charger Dane Smith inherited the pole for heat 8 when the front row was called for a bad start. He was a wire to wire winner ahead of a fast closing Cooper as Shawn Dorie ran third ahead of Klamath Falls charger Jon Trenchard. Trenchard broke in time trials and missed his first heat race. Busby was eliminated in a lap 1 crash along with local Josh Muller. Kocks was damaged in this crash and fell out before the checkered flag. Wilson broke early in heat 9 as Stanford won that race by ¼ lap in his D&M. Ricky Ashley from Cottage Grove drove a Jesse Williamson owned mount to second from his fifth starting slot and back row starters Salyer and DeBenedetti ran 3-4. The first heat cars raced in heat 10 and both Morgan Criswell and Canada’s Graham Cook led laps before sixth starting Chadwick took over. Sharpensteen started 7th and made a late charge to second ahead of Mark Wauge and Ryan McDaniel as Randy McDaniel could only manage an 8th in the very race fast. Canada’s Lawrence O’Conner led the first three laps of heat 11 before back row starter Jenks took the lead. Jenks went on to win his fourth heat race of the two nights, the only driver to accomplish that, in his Shaw. Williamson also came through the pack to second ahead of O’Conner and B Smith. Poppa had spun out of fourth and got clipped by B Smith. Poppa did finish fifth. The final heat race was all Martin as he charged into the lead from sixth on the opening lap and won an attrition filled race. Cass broke his rear suspension for an early caution and Yakima’s Rick Sjogren, Grays Harbor Raceway point leader Blair Shoemaker and Banks racer Marcus Janes all broke. Martin won ahead of Carr and Hand as only five cars finished.
The six highest point earners from the night gathered on the front stretch to draw for their starting order in the 25 lap preliminary night feature as the complete points were being tallied to determine who would race in the D, C, B and A Mains. Noteboom, Jenks, DeBenedetti, Salyer, Ryan McDaniel and Chadwick participated in the draw with Ryan McDaniel and DeBenedetti drawing the front row ahead of Jenks. Just missing the six car cut for the draw, but making the A Main group were Cleveland, Cooper, Sharpensteen, Mayea, Poppa, Lawhead and Williamson. The track officials quickly came up with a starting order for a D Main and those cars were getting in order on the race track when a back of the pack starter lost his brakes as the cars in front of him dramatically slowed. The brakeless car darted into the infield and Brownfield attempted to jump out of the way, but both Brownfield and the car reacted in the same direction and Brownfield flew over the top of the car on impact. The track safety personnel quickly came to Brownfield’s aid and three other ambulances responded, but Brownfield died on the way to the hospital.
Summary Fastest Qualifiers-Randy McDaniel 16.254 NTR, Jon DeBenedetti 16.317, Jason Kocks 16.382, Jay Noteboom 16.449, Brian Cass 16.449, Brian Poppa 16.501, Ryan McDaniel 16.534, Chris Salyer 16.550, Leroy Lawhead 16.640, Rob Mayea 16.722, Braedon Hand 16.753, Dustin Jenks 16.758, Alan Sharpensteen 16.793, Ronnie Wilson 16.823, Scott Busby 16.845, Scott Miller 16.861, Kris Asche 16.910, Bobby Smith Jr 16.929, Kellen Chadwick 16.943, Andy Claiborne 16.958, Gus Cooper 16.980, Duane Cleveland 16.981, Eddie Martin 17.043, Jesse Williamson 17.077, Greg Dineen 17.084, Scott Dorie 17.102, Josh Muller 17.110, Aaron Sheelar 17.157, Blair Shoemaker 17.163, Craig Moore 17.173 Heat 1-Ryan McDaniel, Randy McDaniel, Kellen Chadwick, Alan Sharpensteen, Mark Wauge, Monte Bischoff, Greg Dineen, Graham Cook, Morgan Criswell. Heat 2-Jon DeBenedetti, Chris Salyer, Ronnie Wilson, Alex Stanford, Ricky Ashley, Andy Claiborne, Scott Dorie, Glenn Vincent, Mike Johnson, Chuck Harrell. Heat 3-Jason Kocks, Gus Cooper, Scott Busby, Leroy Lawhead, Josh Muller, Shawn Dorie, Dane Smith, Dan Wolfard, Chris Long. Heat 4-Jay Noteboom, Duane Cleveland, Rob Mayea, Richard Papenhausen, Craig Hanson, Dennis Silva, Aaron Sheelar, Sean Keville, Scott Miller, Mike Long. Heat 5-Brian Cass, Joe Carr, Kris Asche, Dave Duste Jr, Marcus Janes, Blair Shoemaker. Heat 6-Dustin Jenks, Brian Poppa, Jesse Williamson, Bobby Smith Jr, Lawrence O’Conner, Jeremy Richey. Heat 7-Papenhausen, Cleveland, Noteboom, Mayea, Sheelar, Silva, Hanson. Heat 8-Dane Smith, Cooper, Shawn Dorie, Jon Trenchard, Lawhead, M Long. Heat 9-Stanford, Ashley, Salyer, DeBenedetti, Claiborne, Harrell, Scott Dorie, Vincent, Johnson. Heat 10-Chadwick, Sharpensteen, Wauge, Ryan McDaniel, Bischoff, Cook, Dineen, Randy McDaniel. Heat 11-Jenks, Williamson, O’Conner, B Smith Jr, Poppa, Richey, Moore Heat 12-Martin, Carr, Hand, Asche, Duste.